By Savannah Lore
Intellectually, I have understood that Public History is not interpreting history everyday, all day. There are other task that have to be done to keep the museum open and visitor-friendly. I did not think this was such a major thing until I was actually working at the Alexander Majors House Museum. I think it is a frame of mind where when you starting out learning about public history, you are thinking about all the exciting ideas or skills and not so much about all the day-to-day that is a part of the the job. I have decided to call this the Indiana Jones effects. No one watches Indiana Jones to watch him teach or grade papers. In fact, Indy hates that part of the job as much as we would be bored watching an hour of him plan a lesson. The excitement and the adventure are what people talk about and think about when they think of Indiana Jones. However, the audience is aware of the fact that he is Dr. Jones, a professor of archeology, which has job requirements of its own but no one watches the films for the teaching scenes.
I use that long winded metaphor to say that I have realized that without the day-to-day task (sweeping sidewalks or picking up trash for example) that a museum will not have the visitors so I can interpret history. It would not be a functioning place and no one would visit a museum that is not properly maintained or want to tell others about us. When a tour slot is empty, I still have some work to do around the museum to make it a place that visitors can enjoy. So, while sweeping the sidewalk might not be as important as what I learn from interpretation, I think that it (and all the other little tasks I do) is a bigger part of the job then I use to think it was.